Pesto & tomato pasta with crispy crumbs

Pesto & tomato pasta with crispy crumbs

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(8 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 40 mins

Skill level



Serves 5

This simple yet special storecupboard supper will save the day if you need to rustle something up with a moment's notice

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 190g jar basil pesto
  • few capers or olives (optional)
  • 140g white bread - stale or fresh, whizzed into crumbs (or 140g/5oz breadcrumbs)
  • 50g pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan, or vegetarian alternative (optional)
  • 25g butter
  • 350g/12oz-400g/14oz linguine, spaghetti, tagliatelle or whatever you have in the cupboard

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  1. Gently cook the onion and half the garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil for 10 mins until soft. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and simmer for 15-20 mins until saucy. Stir in half the pesto, some seasoning and a few capers or olives, if you have them. Cover and keep warm.
  2. While the sauce is simmering, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Toss the crumbs in a large baking tray with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, the rest of the garlic, the pine nuts and Parmesan, if Simple yet special storecupboard supper using. Bake for 10 mins, stirring a few times, until golden. Dot over the butter and return to the oven for 2 mins more.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta. Drain, reserving a little cooking water. Stir through the sauce with a splash of cooking water to loosen, if you need to, ripple through the remaining pesto and serve scattered with golden crumbs.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, December 2010

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abikinsey's picture
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Appreciated by children & adults alike, sometimes can't be bothered to do the crumbs, just use grated Parmesan on top. Easy to make and freeze half for next time!

luceybridge's picture
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Sacla organic pesto is suitable for vegetarians. It costs a bit more though.

mikita's picture
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Lovely dish! Though, next time I think I'll skip the oven and toast the breadcrumbs in a pan.

tinydancer's picture

The crispy crumbs really made this recipe, they were very tasty and it was a nice contrast in texture. The family keep asking for this one, so it must be good.

1flower1's picture
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Jacqueline I hope this helps.

There is a pesto out now called florentino (IT IS VEGETARIAN). There is either tomato or basil. It can be found in some supermarkets, sometimes in the free from section and in many health food shops.


I am told it is really tasty with meatballs.

drhshires's picture
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This was a really tasty pasta sauce and the garlicky crispy crumbs on top were delicious. I dropped one star in my rating because it took a while to prepare, given that this is essentially a simple tomato sauce and no meat (I'm a meat kinda girl). It was really good though.

fluffyjacq's picture

Pesto is made of parmesan cheese: Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano is an EU Protected Designation of Origin product and has to be made using calf rennet, so it’s definitely NOT suitable for vegetarians.